February 28, 1940 – Mario Andretti is born

One of the most decorated American racers was born on this day 1940. Mario Andretti, born in the Kingdom of Italy, would emigrate to the US in 1955 as a refugee and become a naturalized citizen of the USA in 1964. After moving to the US Mario and his twin brother Aldo worked at their uncle’s auto garage where they earned money to modify their 1948 Hudson Commodore. In 1959 they raced the car at the dirt track near Nazareth, Pennsylvania where they lived and within his first four races Mario had two wins. The early success behind the wheel allowed Mario to quickly work his way up the racing ladder. He would go on to become one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR and World Sportscar Championship, the other being Dan Gurney. He is also the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship (1978). He’s the only driver to win United States Driver of the Year in three different decades (1967, 1978 and 1984) and with his final IndyCar win in 1993 became the only driver have won an Indy race in four decades and any kind of automobile race in five. Andretti driving at Laguna Seca Raceway in 1991. By Stuart Seeger from College Station, Texas, USA – Mario At Speed, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3528998

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